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  • Major and Minor Blues: What Are These Chords?

    Major and Minor Blues: What Are These Chords?

    When it comes to playing bass, it’s easy to stick to specific patterns, rely on our ability to provide the musical foundation with the root and the fifth, and leave the chord knowledge up to the guitar players. Although there are musical situations where playing the root and the fifth is appropriate, it is essential... »

  • Custom Shop: M Basses

    Custom Shop: M Basses

    After growing up around woodworking, Jon Maghini turned his fascination of instrument building into a reality when he founded M Basses about a decade ago. Though the Connecticut-based luthier has built completely custom basses in the past, he began streamlining his process by focusing on J-style basses late last year with his Mj model, eventually... »

  • Mindfully Mindless Practice

    Mindfully Mindless Practice

    Q: I’ve heard some people talk about practicing while watching TV, and I’ve heard others warn against it. What’s your take? A: Actually, I’m a huge fan of certain types of practice while watching movies and television. As I’ve mentioned in earlier columns, certain things are only really mastered through repetition (licks and patterns, internalizing... »

  • Mental Practice

    Mental Practice

    We all have strategies on how to practice when time is short. There are times, however, when even a short practice session is not feasible. In times such as this, mental practice can be a valuable tool. Mental practice is also valuable as a regular part of your sessions. For such practice to be valuable,... »

  • Health & Fitness for The Working Bassist – Part 5: Odds & Sods

    Health & Fitness for The Working Bassist – Part 5: Odds & Sods

    Lift Off — Common Sense Guidelines for Lifting and Moving Your Equipment Most of us carry our own gear around. Sometimes we get lucky and use house gear or somebody else’s gear (which isn’t always as good a deal as it may sound). At times, some of us are fortunate enough to have somebody else... »

  • Preparing Your Demo Material to Land that Next Gig

    Preparing Your Demo Material to Land that Next Gig

    Q: I’m challenged by my lack of demo material. I figured I would accumulate some good clips along the way and build up a portfolio. However, my networking skills have outpaced my gigging experience (I’m picky). I’ve recently been asked by some high B-list caliber artists for samples. Gulp… I don’t have any so the... »

  • Understanding Blues Forms and Common Substitutions

    Understanding Blues Forms and Common Substitutions

    In this lesson, we’re going to examine a couple of different blues forms, specifically the 12 bar, 8 bar, and 16 bar blues. Additionally, we’ll go over a few different approaches to playing through the form and knowing when it would be appropriate to substitute chords or when to adhere to the traditional changes. Here... »

  • Balancing Music School and Practicing

    Balancing Music School and Practicing

    Q: I am a music student at a music conservatory, and I just had a year off for practice and teaching. Now I’m back to finish the last two years of my music education, and I’ve just received my lesson plan for the next 12 months. I have four lessons a day Monday and Wednesday.... »

  • Holding the Upright Bass

    Holding the Upright Bass

    There are a plethora of ideas on how one should hold the double bass and new variants seem to surface every day. Some stance decisions will be made based on specific performance situations, but most will reflect someone’s pedagogical background (i.e. who their teachers were) and personal preference. For example, it is unlikely you will... »

  • Custom Shop: Birdsong Guitars

    Custom Shop: Birdsong Guitars

    Founded in 2004, Birdsong Guitars is a company with a distinct reputation for excellent short-scale basses – one that founder Scott Beckwith prides himself on. After getting his start building in the late ’90s, Beckwith set up shop in Texas where he has been honing his craft with the aid of his wife and other... »